Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Funding the 'poor' Palestinians

There is a very good article here comparing the amount of aid that the US is giving this year to Gaza (meaning explicitly Hamas) compared to a country in far more desperate (and deserving) need, namely Haiti. The article shows that, based on the population size, Gazans will get 7.5 times more than Haitians.

In fact, charitable funding for Palestinians (most of which ultimately is paid for by taxpayers in the US and Western Europe and not by oil-rich Arab nations) is, by a huge margin, pro-rata more than is given in aid to any other nation or people in the world. No people in the history of the world have been so lavishly showered with charity as the Palestinians. The main reason for this is that, unlike any other people or refugees in history, the Palestinians have their own dedicated UN agency - UNRWA. The official web page of UNRWA states that it has an annual budget of $1.23 billion mainly from money donated by the governments of the USA and Western Europe. But the UNRWA funding does not include the many other regular charitable donations the Palestinians receive from charities and NGOs such as Oxfam, War on Want and Christian Aid as well as the regular 'special appeals' such as the DEC appeal in January 2009 (it is difficult to get the exact figures from these organisations but, for example, the Christian Aid 2009 annual report gives a figure of £17.5 million spent in the Middle East and it is almost certain that over 50% of this was to the Palestinians, while War on Want focues almost entirely on the Palestinians). Nor does the UNRWA budget include the frequent one-off payments such as that made last weekend by the British Government (£19 million on top of the annual £200 million at a time when we are told the Government has no money and plans massive cuts everywhere) and the US government ($400 million). Both of these special payments were, effectively, one-off rewards to Hamas for engineering the flotilla incident. In 2007 an international conference in Paris saw a pledge of an additional $7.4 billion over the following 3 years to the Palestinian Authority.

When you add in the Iranian government's direct support of Hamas (believed to be a billion dollars over the last two years) and the unspecified funding of Hamas that comes from the Gulf states, it is likely that charitable foreign donations/aid to the Palestinians in Gaza amounts currently to at least $3 billion dollars per year. That works out - per person - at some 60 times greater than aid received by Haiti and several hundreds times per person more than most African countries.

If even a small proportion of this aid was spent on genuine humanitarian needs and nation building then it might be partially justified. But most of the foreign aid cash given to the Palestinians is unaccounted for (possibly as much as 90%) and hence goes direct to Hamas or (in the West Bank) into the Swiss banking accounts of PA officials (this is how Yasser Arafat accumulated several billions of dollars in his own private accounts). The massive, disproportionate charitable donations to Palestinians not only ensures a culture of total dependence (hence stopping any real economic development) but is also the primary enabler of their continued terrorism. You would have thought that Western governments would have twigged by now just how counter-productive it is, but the liberal elite in charge simply cannot resist the lure of Palestinian victimhood.

If you want to do something about it then one small thing you can do is tell anybody you know never to give to the charities that are most agressively and politically 'pro-Palestinian' (or, more correctly 'anti-Israel' like the ones I've listed above. In particular, these are the charities that most benefit from "Comic Relief" - if you support Israel make sure you never again buy a red nose. See the report here for details:

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/03/07/a-nose-job/

Since that report was written things have got a whole lot worse, especially with the charity "War on Want":

http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/war_on_want_wages_war_on_israel_update_
http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/07/10/ben-white-at-war-on-want/

6 comments:

MonkZy said...

To put a balance on aid, one must read this pdf document. It is a document from the Congressional research service, and outlines US Foreign Aid to Israel. The aid was mostly used to gain a 'Qualitative Military Edge' (QME) on Israels over neighboring militaries.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf

Israel, in order to secure its position as our middle east ally, has received billions in aid. For many years, the hardcore anti-semitic people have used this fact to point the finger at Israel.

Why are you adopting this stance? It seems the pro-Israel supporters are using the same arguments as the ant-Israel people. It makes no sense. Quite odd.

Also you are using spin : i quote 'most of which ultimately is paid for by taxpayers in the US and Western Europe', why use the term tax-payers when the money is not gained with taxation. The money you speak of is money given freely by individuals, not a tax. The article is about 'Charitable Aid'.

Edgar Davidson said...

MonkZY

You are wrong on all your major points here. It is certainly true that up until 1998 Israel received generous financial assistance from the US, but the level of this assistance in real terms has been dropping ever since. Moreover, unlike the US aid given to the Palestinians, most US aid to Israel is in the form of loan guarantees and military funding (where much of the latter has to be spent on US equipment). On all this aid the US gets a real return on its investment. In contrast US aid to the Palestinians has no strings attached other than the - ignored - requirement for 'accountability'. Your other point that seems to claim that all aid to Palestinians is 'charitable aid' coming from individuals is complete nonesense. You clearly did not read the article.

MonkZy said...

After reading the links to UNRWA, it is clear I underestimated how much funding is sent to Palestine in the form of aid. However last year Israel recieved 2550 million dollars in military aid form the US, compared to the 267 million dollars the US pledged to UNRWA, a difference of 2200 million dollars.

It is certain Israel requires the aid she receives, in order to exist in such a hostile region. I am just finding it hard to understand why you feel the aid Palestine receives is somehow unjust.

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Anonymous said...

Palestinian aid and the reasons given for it, are hardly comparable to the 'aid' Israel receives from the US.

Anonymous said...

This article is written in English, I am assuming you read it before making a comment. Therefore; I find your arrogant disregard to the author by writing in a different language appalling.